Innovating Government: Normative, Policy and Technological Dimensions of Modern Government

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For example, in a recent study of the Hungarian system of innovations, it was found that the assumption of national integration was no longer fruitful for explaining the differences among regions Lengyel and Leydesdorff, Unlike the Netherlands Leydesdorff et al. Like the systems, the subsystems should not be reified. Subsystems are functional insofar as they serve the reproduction of the system; functions in composed systems can be specified as subdynamics. Three subdynamics are suggested by the Triple Helix model as crucial: the economic dynamics of the market, the political dynamics of control, and the socio-cognitive dynamics in the production of organized knowledge.

The relations between political and economic dynamics have been the focus of theorizing about political economies in both Marxist and non-Marxist traditions. How do political economies change under the pressure of technological trajectories? How are technological trajectories upset when new technological regimes emerge? Path dependencies in the evolving systems of innovation are induced by the asynchronicities among the three coordination mechanisms.

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Two of the three mechanisms may at any time click into a co-evolution and then mutually shape a trajectory. The third mechanism can be expected to provide the dynamics. Freeman and Perez developed a model of structural adjustment policies in which cycles are induced periodically by new key factors of the economy. However, this model remained a dialectical model of the development of the political economy under the pressure of otherwise exogenously defined technological developments induced by rapidly falling prices in factor inputs.

The production of these new resources at the supra-institutional level by organized knowledge production and control was not yet deconstructed and incorporated into the model. When the model allows for interaction among the three subdynamics of the system—with one of these subdynamics considered as an exogenous variable conditioning the coevolution between the other two—a Triple Helix model with three-way interactions can be hypothesized.

The new model based on a neo-evolutionary interpretation of the Triple Helix in terms of interacting functions enables us not only to envisage trajectory changes in the downswing phases of the economy, that is, at the end of cycles, but also the induction of regime changes in the technological environment, giving rise to the development of innovative products and processes of strategic significance, as in the case of renewable energy systems. While carbon-based energy production and consumption has become increasingly a burden to the current production system and its natural environment, one can envisage the increasingly rapid replacement of carbon-based energy-carriers with energy sources which are virtually unlimited such as solar or geothermic energy.

Nevertheless, the introduction of these new energy sources requires adaptation of existing markets and political control structures which may take decades to emerge. Thus, the knowledge-based economy system is both extremely buffered and flexible: new developments continuously emerge, but remain under heavy selection pressures. Old regimes do not give way without first attempting to encapsulate hyperselectively new developments by further differentiation Bruckner et al.

The more entrenched a system is, the more resilient it can be expected to be against regime change. For example, Douglas introduced the DC3 as a new paradigm for propeller aircrafts in When in a later phase of the development of civil aircraft, Boeing introduced the jet-engine based wide body aircraft in , Douglas could develop a competing aircraft the DC8 in as a follow-up of the DC7 of in a few years time, but the propeller aircraft remained the main competitor at the paradigmatic level.

Only when Airbus in accepted the textbook of the Boeing model, a new paradigm for aircraft development became increasingly dominant. Thus, it took more than 20 years to perform the transition; an entrenched paradigm exhibits resilience against change.

Grand Innovation Prizes: A theoretical, normative, and empirical evaluation

Note that control at the regime level is no longer exerted at the level of individual corporations such as Boeing or individual nations, but by interacting dynamics at the next-order level of global developments of technologies and markets. Nation states with national aircraft industries may or may not be successful in retaining wealth from these developments. For example, Fokker in the Netherlands failed to make the necessary transition and remained hesitant about the paradigm choice after the transition had been made. It continued to develop both the propeller-based F50 and the jet-engine based F and thus overstretched its capacity or that of the Dutch government and knowledge infrastructure.

Increasingly, governments can be reflexive on their positions in the complex dynamics in which ex ante synchronization is no longer expected. As the evolutionary perspective prevails, a richer model in the form of the Triple Helix can be entertained, in which the specific position of a nation can be assessed in relation to other possible positions in a distribution of governmental efforts; for example, at the supra-national level Laredo, In other words, the selection environments can be considered as distributions which can be assessed in terms of the uncertainties that they are expected to contain.

Empirical studies and simulations using the Triple Helix model. We have argued that the Triple Helix perspective can be elaborated into a neo-evolutionary model which enables us to recombine sociological notions of meaning processing in different discourses, economic theorizing about exchange relations, and insights from science and technology studies regarding the organization and control of knowledge production. Communicative competencies developed and appreciated at the supra-individual level can be expected to determine and constrain the innovative capacities of knowledge-based systems.


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Can the differently codified communications be translated into each other and can these translations be appreciated mutually? Where the translations can resonate with the historically embedded recursive communication structures, the further codification of meaning in scientific knowledge production can be expected to add value to the economic exchange relations Foray, ; Frenken, Triple Helix serves us mainly as a heuristic model for modeling these interactions.

Its abstract and analytical character enables us to explain current transitions towards a knowledge-based economy as a new regime of operations. In other words, this neo-evolutionary version of the Triple Helix model operationalizes the general notion of a knowledge-based economy as a self-organizing system Krugman, in terms of three relevant selection environments.

The differentiation in terms of selection mechanisms can be both horizontal and vertical. Vertically, the flux of communications is constrained by the institutional arrangements that have been shaped in terms of stabilizations of previous communicative structures.

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Horizontally, the coordination mechanisms can be of a different nature because they can be expected to use different codes. For example, market transactions are different from scientific communications.


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Market transactions can also be cross-tabulated with organizational control- hierarchies Williamson, ; Lundvall, While the control mechanisms at interfaces can be considered as functional for the differentiation among communications, the hierarchy in the organization may help reduce the problem of coordination between functions to a multi-level problem within the institutional dimension.

In summary, the functional perspective is different from the institutional one. Functional communications evolve; institutional relations function as retention mechanisms which respond to functional incentives. However, the functions are not given, but have to be specified. Their epistemological status remains that of more or less informed hypotheses. Thus, one can study a Triple Helix system at different levels and from different perspectives. For example, one can study university-industry-government relations from a neo- institutional perspective e.

Introduction. From Internet Governance to Internet Politics

Different interpretations of the Triple Helix model can be at odds with each other, but still inform the model. Each metaphor stabilizes a geometrical representation of an otherwise more complex dynamics. Competing hypotheses derived from different versions of the Triple Helix model can be explored through formal modeling and appreciated through neo- institutional analysis.

Case studies inform the modeling efforts about contingencies and boundary conditions, while simulation models enable us to relate the various perspectives. In the model, the three strands of the Triple Helix are declared as formally equivalent selection mechanisms, but they are substantially very different. The selection mechanisms are expected to operate asymmetrically. The one strand university is institutionally less powerful than the other two strands.

Furthermore, the other two strands government and industry are increasingly and indirectly co-opting the university in a variety of ways. However, the university has specific strengths: it is salient in providing the other two systems with a continuous influx of new discursive knowledge e. From this perspective, the university can be considered as a main carrier of the knowledge-based innovation system Godin and Gingras, Knowledge-based fluxes continuously upset and reform the dynamic equilibria sought by the two other strands of the political economy.

In our opinion, the neo-evolutionary version of the Triple Helix model is sufficiently complex to encompass the different perspectives of participant observers e. What is the contribution of this model in terms of providing heuristics to empirical research? First, the neo-institutional model of arrangements among different stakeholders can be used in case study analysis. Given the new mode of knowledge production, case studies can be enriched by addressing the relevance of the third major dimension of the model.

This does not mean to disclaim the legitimacy of studying, for example, bi-lateral academic-industry relations or government-university policies, but one can expect more interesting results by observing reflexively the interactions among the three subdynamics. In other words, one can increase the relevance of a study by reflecting on how the third context may add to the richness of the conclusions.


  • 1. Historical Developments.
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  • Secondly, the model can be informed by the increasing understanding of complex dynamics and simulation studies from evolutionary economics e. Thirdly, the Triple Helix model adds to the meta-biological models of evolutionary economics, the sociological notion of meaning being exchanged among the institutional agents Habermas, ; Leydesdorff, ; Luhmann, [] Finally, on the normative side of developing options for innovation policies, the Triple Helix model provides us with an incentive to search for mismatches between the institutional dimensions in the arrangements and the hypothesized!

    The frictions between the two layers knowledge-based expectations and institutional interests , and among the three domains economy, science, and policy provide a wealth of opportunities for puzzle solving and innovation. The evolutionary regimes are expected to remain in transition because they are shaped along historical trajectories. Shifts in a knowledge-based regime can be expected continuously to upset the political economy and the market equilibria as different subdynamics. Conflicts of interest can be deconstructed and reconstructed in terms of these different coordination mechanisms, first analytically and then perhaps also in practice in the search for solutions to problems of economic productivity, wealth retention, and knowledge growth.

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    Salient features of this special issue. The Triple Helix model has been embraced by policy-makers because of its neo-corporatist overtones and its emphasis on collaboration at local, regional, and national levels. Unlike the a priori choice for the national level, the Triple Helix model can be appreciated at various levels of geographical integration. The self-organizing model of the Triple Helix, however, does not privilege any perspective ex ante. Grasping wealth from retaining these dynamics requires a more informed and reflexive approach.

    Nationally and regionally motivated aspirations may, however, be counterproductive to a knowledge-based dynamics in metropolitan areas Florida, For example, the structure of different regions in Spain, such as Catalonia or the Basque country, can be expected to require different innovation policies. The Basque country, on the other hand, which is hitherto less integrated in the knowledge dynamics, may find it easier to develop a regional innovation system Moso and Olazaran, Whereas the national and regional innovation systems would seek to retain the benefits of globalizing knowledge within specified geographical boundaries, the Triple Helix model underpins the study of innovation systems at various levels in terms of institutional and functional categories.

    It can thus be argued that the Triple Helix perspective has enriched the conceptual and empirical dimensions of innovation as a systemic phenomenon, thus potentially improving the effectiveness of innovation policies at regional and national levels, and in a system where knowledge production is being increasingly globalised. As is apparent from the discussion in the foregoing of this paper, there is a wide range of issues of theoretical and empirical significance arising from the Triple Helix approach to the innovation system.

    It would, therefore, be overly ambitious for a special issue like this to be comprehensive in its coverage of the major aspects of the Triple Helix perspective of innovation systems. The four papers included in this special issue have a common strand running through them—namely, the regional dimension of the Triple Helix innovation system.

    This common strand set in different contexts, shows the robustness of the Triple Helix model as a heuristic for empirically investigating the complex dynamics underlying the innovation process at regional level. Two of the papers—one by Helen Lawton-Smith and Sharmistha Bagchi-Sen, and the other by Carl-Otto Frykfors and Hakan Jonsson—discuss Triple Helix as a facilitator for the emergence of industrial clusters as a basis for regional development, albeit from different perspectives. The emergence of dominant factors in this process have made Oxfordshire a favourable location for the development of the biotechnology cluster.

    While university, industry, and government are all important for the emergence of the biotech cluster in Oxfordshire, Lawton-Smith and Bagchi-Sen found the dominant factor that particularly underpinned the biotechnology capability of the region to be not the role played by Oxford University as a world centre for biomedical research, but the availability of skills and talents in science and technology in the region.

    The authors highlight the importance of a multi-level approach to Triple Helix policy to engage in systemic interaction all Triple Helix actors across the value chain, thus paving the way for the emergence of an overarching innovation community in the sector. A characteristic feature of low-tech mature industrial clusters is the prevalence, at various levels, of sectoral activities of differentiated social and technological cultures that have ossified over the period the sector has evolved with boundaries between activities that constrain interaction and collaboration between Triple Helix actors.

    In such cases, the development of Triple Helix networks can blur the boundaries between spheres of activities; diminish the asymmetry in the distribution of information and hence the transactions cost of interactions between actors in the sector; and facilitate the emergence of innovation communities and prospects for sustainable development in the sector.